ADVERTISING FIRM INVITES EMPLOYEES TO SHOW OFF THEIR STUFF olivernewimage.jpg It's no secret that artists face unique circumstances when it comes to survival. We've all heard stories about the "starving artist" who lives out of his car. But thanks to companies like Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners who for the first time welcome its employees to show off their personal projects in a special exhibition titled "5 to 9", artists like Oliver Rios are encouraged to pursue their creativity outside of the office.

Graphic designer Oliver Rios presented "RAICES", an exhibit based on the collaborations of images he photographed in Camuy, Puerto Rico and photos he took of Danza Fiesta- a folkloric Christmas presentation in Aaron Davis Hall last month.

"I went to see them perform with band Zon del Barrio who did a small musical with songs from Puerto Rico, and that was my inspiration to do this," says the 34-year-old artist. "With the images I took, I was first only going to use those photos for the exhibit and then I said 'You know what? Let me play around with it a little more' and it just evolved."

And for Rios, there's no limit to what defines art. While in the Isla del Encanto, Rios focused on the everyday life of Puerto Rico and photographed everything from coconuts to branches to chicken and used them for the collage.

Rios' creativity has landed him deals with ESPN Deportes, Aeropostale, Barrio Mobile and even a historic moment when one of his murals was featured in the 2006 Latin Grammy's.

"A friend of mine [and PR guru] Aurora Flores put that segment together and she needed a piece in a garden with a casita [a little house resembling a Puerto Rican home]," explains Rios. "So I told her about my mother's garden in Spanish Harlem where I had done a mural of a coqui, the Puerto Rican flag and El Moro which where all in the garden and I guess Univision decided to use my mural. It was totally shocking; I wasn’t expecting that."

To see more of Oliver's work, log-on to OriosDesigns.com.

The following are some images of 'RAICES":

taino2.jpg 20x30 Digital Photography Collage. This photo was taken in Isabela, PR. It is a Taino Indian carved on the side of a mountain. The images surrounding it were taken in the caverns of Camuy, PR where the Taino Indians lived.

navidena.jpg Trulla Navideña, Orios Designs ©2007 - 20x30 Digital Photography Collage. Photos of Danza Fiesta blended with photos of Orios's father's backyard in Quebradillas, PR.

jibaro.jpg Jibaro, Orios Designs ©2007 - 20x30 Digital Photography Collage. Photos of Danza Fiesta blended with photos of my father’s backyard in Quebradillas, PR.

paranda.jpg 20x30 Digital Photography Collage. This photo was taken of Danza Fiesta. A parranda is when a small group of friends gather together to “asaltar” or surprise another friend. It’s the Puerto Rican version of Christmas caroling.